[7] Therefore, it is because the Indigenous guides did not feel comfortable suggesting that tourists eat the fish contaminated with mercury and because the tourists did not wish to ingest fish with high levels of mercury that the fishing tourist industry no longer exists in the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation community. “Our people want to have a say in the state of our forests, participate in the opportunities and maintain our way of life into future generations,” says Leo Jourdain, Grand Chief for Treaty Three, the political organization for 28 First Nations in the region. Current minister of Indigenous Affairs visited Grassy Narrows in March to sign an agreement with the community to build the Care Centre but no agreement was signed. As many as 1,000 people showed symptoms of the dreaded “Minamata disease” in the 1960s and 1970s. It was a “roving blockade,” part of a high-stakes game of cat and mouse between the Anishinaabe people of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows First Nation) and Montreal-based logging giant Abitibi Consolidated. Traditionally, Ojibwe hunted large game for subsistence. This is part of Fobister’s vision of what Aboriginal access to resources through treaty rights might look like. By Citizens for Public Justice. © 2020 Citizens for Public Justice. Grassy Narrows First Nation, or the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation, is a small First Nations community in northwestern Ontario. On the way back we cross the Wabigoon River. “We’re asking for a Mercury Home. Grassy Narrows, ON, is the common name for both a reserve and an Ojibwe First Nation. “We have borne 54 years of poison and inaction — we need a firm timeline and a realistic budget to get this cleanup done as soon as humanly possible,” Grassy Narrows Chief Simon Fobister said Thursday in response to Glenn Murray’s comments. [22] Thus, it is because the government entities do not wish to pollute the Wabigoon River system furthermore that the lack of cleanup is strategic rather than malicious. The fur trade shifted this practice toward trapping smaller animals and trading their furs. “I can’t describe the feeling,” he says. Each parcel was selected for access to fishing and hunting grounds and for suitability for gardening. Although the Asubpeeschoseewagong people themselves say that they have always lived along the Wabigoon-English River northeast of Lake of the Woods, most historians believe that the ancestors of the Northern Ojibway were first encountered by Europeans near what is now Sault Ste. 1840-1877 Sandy Bar Cree/Saulteaux community established at Sandy Bar/Grassy Narrows. In exchange a spacious tract of land, as much as a square mile of land for each family, in a favourable location on the Wabigoon-English River system was reserved for the use of the tribe. Work was available as hunting and fishing guides and cleaning tourist lodges. Rudy Turtle, chief of Grassy Narrows, hopes he keeps that promise. Grassy Narrows’ Chief Simon Fobister responded saying “I invite the Premier to put this historic commitment in writing and sign it alongside me in proper ceremony so that we can know it is real. “It’s a provincial matter,” he says. June … Details Category: Local News Published: Friday, 05 June 2020 11:52 Written by Rikki Watson. The map is very colourful. The only access to the reserve was by canoe or plane. The issue of Aboriginal rights to customary lands outside reserves is critical for Grassy Narrows’ hopes of attaining self-reliance. [7][24][25] According to First Nations people, fish is one of the healthiest substances that can be consumed. “New Democrats have repeatedly raised in this chamber […] A medical centre provides basic health care to residents and open Monday to Friday. ← The 1990s: CPJ in the eye of several storms. Grassy Narrows First Nation leaders want a commitment in writing from the province to cleanup a nearby river that is contaminated with mercury. Muskrat were plentiful and trapped for pelts and food. Marie, Ontario and thus were given the name Saulteaux. Treaties, trees and sharing: A frontline report, March 2003. Meanwhile, Fobister said he fears his community will bear the consequences of the mercury contamination until the river is cleaned up, noting such a process could prolong the ordeal for several more generations of Grassy Narrows residents. She … Finally, helped by Olthuis, a lawyer and researcher, the community received roughly $7 million in 1985 for compensation, job creation and economic development. According to Manager Jimmy Koo, they still have no timeline for completion. In … "[26] The provincial government appointed former Supreme Court of Canada and Federal Court of Canada Chief Justice Frank Iacobucci to lead these discussions. Hornepayne First Nation recently joined the Grassy Narrows blockade and in February, Aroland First Nation began blocking Highway 43. So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First Nation, about 130 kilometres away. [21][14] In particular, it is because the walleye are roughly 40-90 times the advisable mercury intake limit for pregnant women, children and women who hope to bear offspring that the walleye is predominately hazardous. Camp Grassy Narrows is located on the shores of Lac Des Quinze, hidden under the birches and pine trees. 1840 Methodist Mission established in Norway House. Police say runaway Hong Kong politician probed for security crime . [25][7], On September 8, 2007, Ontario announced that it "had agreed to begin discussions with Grassy Narrows First Nation on forestry-related issues. Sarah Bollard was born in Grassy Narrows but sent to live with a white family in suburban Toronto. 1962 to 1970: A pulp and paper mill owned by Reed Inc., and later Great Lakes Forest Products Ltd., dumps mercury-contaminated effluent into the Wabigoon River. “$19.5 million is just for the building itself, but we are in the process of securing another, I think, $68 million and that still has to go to cabinet for approval,” said Turtle, who talked to APTN News from his Grassy Narrows home. “They act like they own the forest, as though we are accountable to them.”. “I can’t even imagine what it used to be like,” surveying the naked hillside. That’s why it’s so significant that last week, in two separate statements, the United Nation’s top expert advisers on the right to health and on the human rights impacts of toxic contamination both called out Canada’s failure to ensure justice for the people of Grassy Narrows. The Grassy Narrows band began seeking compensation in 1970. The reserve, legally known as English River Indian Reserve 21, is just over 41 km 2 of land located about 55 km northeast of Kenora.There are 1,594 registered members of Grassy Narrows First Nation (also known as Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek), 971 of whom live on-reserve (2019). There were deer and moose on the reserve which were hunted for meat and supplemented by fish. And no timeline has been given for the next phase of design or construction. [13][14], The mercury poisoning among the two First Nations communities were possible due to the lax laws regarding environmental pollution. The Trudeau administration committed to building the centre when Chief Simon Fobister and Jane Philpott, minister of Indigenous Services, met in 2017. Treaties and trees. Miller pegged the timeline to finish the buildings at between 18 and 36 months. [7][23] Consumption of fish continues in the area, particularly pickerel (walleye), the local favourite, but it is high on the food chain and therefore contains high levels of mercury. [18][19] Moreover, in June 2017, the Ontario government pledged $85 million to clean up the industrial mercury contamination. [14] Though there have been obvious health issues associated with the consumption of fish from the Wabigoon River system, Ed Wilson Landing, and Clay Lake, the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation community continue to eat the fish from these bodies of water as the community cannot afford to obtain boats in order to fish farther away from the infected waterways or afford pricey groceries. Nor are Grassy Narrows residents alone in seeking access to the wealth and opportunities that surround them. It flows west and joins the Winnipeg River. [16] Ivy Keewatin claimed that on the guided tours that she once conducted, she would take the attendees to a particular area in order to eat deep-fried pickerel (walleye). Grassy Narrows has struggled successfully for fair treatment in the past. [7] It is believed that approximately 10 tons (20,000 pounds) of mercury was dumped into the Wabigoon River system between 1962 and 1970. site has delayed the work timeline, the spokesperson said, adding the government will share its “approach” with Grassy Narrows and … ... Chief David Rundle petitions to relocate to Grassy Narrows/Sandy Bar to farm. Economic opportunities are needed badly. No timeline yet for completion of Clarion repairs. That’s hard to do in a clearcut. The sentiment is echoed by non-Aboriginal trapper Don Billard. It was past midnight as we stood around the bonfire beside a logging road in northwestern Ontario. Ontario Minamata disease is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning.It occurred in the Canadian province of Ontario, in 1970, and severely affected two First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario following consumption of local fish contaminated with mercury, and one First Nation in Southern Ontario due to illegal disposal of industrial chemical waste. Climate change in Africa will lead to food insecurity, displacement of Indigenous persons, as well as increased famine, drought, and floods. Grassy Narrows First Nations chief hails more funding for mercury treatment centre. [21] Walleye remains dangerous for those with long-term exposure to the consumption of the fish as walleye contains approximately 13-15 times the recommended levels of mercury. Pointing to a purple blotch where he shares a cabin with a Grassy Narrows trapper, he says, “If they cut here, we’ll have to pretend we’re living in a forest.” He cares about old growth forests and a way of life. Meanwhile, Fobister said he fears his community will bear the consequences of the mercury contamination until the river is cleaned up, noting such a process could prolong the ordeal for several more generations of Grassy Narrows residents. FISHER RIVER CREE NATION HISTORICAL TIMELINE (Selected) 1837 Norway House established as Hudson Bay Company Administrative Centre. The discovery of mercury poisoning in 1970 was a devastating blow to Grassy Narrows. Pollution meant the English-Wabigoon River had to be closed to commercial fishing. [7] Some of the health issues associated with the consumption of the mercury infested fish in the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation community includes numbness, hearing loss, headaches, dizziness and limb cramps. We have everyhting that you need for the perfect vacation. The community fears mass logging will lead to damage to local habitat.[27]. Treaty Three Police Service provides policing for the reserve, Places adjacent to Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation, (ORDER IN COUNCIL SETTING UP COMMISSION FOR TREATY 3), CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (, Portal:Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Treaty 3 between Her Majesty the Queen and the Saulteaux Tribe of the Ojibbeway Indians at the Northwest Angle on the Lake of the Woods with Adhesions, "Census Profile, 2016 Census English River 21, Indian reserve [Census subdivision], Ontario and Kenora, District [Census division], Ontario", Registered Population Official Name Grassy Narrows First Nation 149, "Treaty 3 between Her Majesty the Queen and the Saulteaux Tribe of the Ojibbeway Indians at the Northwest Angle on the Lake of the Woods with Adhesions", "Passing on Ojibway Lifeways in a Contemporary Environment", "Grassy Narrows residents eating fish with highest mercury levels in province", "Ontario knew about Grassy Narrows mercury site for decades, but kept it secret", "The interwoven history of mercury poisoning in Ontario and Japan", "Province ignores information about possible mercury dumping ground: Star Investigation", "Former Dryden, Ont. “Minister Seamus … Participation in the North American fur trade was initially through trading of furs trapped by other tribes, but soon the Saulteaux acquired trapping skills and emigrated to their present location as they sought productive trapping grounds. [4], On the lands they selected under Treaty 3, the old reserve, the cycle of seasonal activities and traditional cultural practices of the Ojibway were followed. Matthew Coon Come, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, showed his support at the blockade Feb.27. Grassy Narrows declared a state of emergency over its unsafe drinking water in 2015, after a boil-water advisory had already been in place for nearly two years, as … Lands and resources that once sustained them now sustain corporations far away, and the forest is harmed in the process. In addition, large patrilineal clans divide… At blockade headquarters, he pours over maps with webs of roads and networks of blotches on them. We have borne 54 years of poison and inaction – we need a firm timeline and a realistic budget to get this cleanup done as soon as humanly possible. The view of the treaty among blockaders seems to be that it is intended to ensure equitable sharing of resources. Story continues below advertisement. Ancestors of the northern Ojibwe are thought to have originally inhabited the north shore of the upper Great Lakes. After you have parked your vehicle in the secure lighted parking lot in Morson, you board one of our comfortable cruisers for … Grassy Narrows received over $530,000 from that program in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, federal officials said. The Clarion Lakeside Inn in Kenora is still undergoing repairs and renovations after a fire in January. “What they’re doing is wrong.”, Billard started out expecting to work co-operatively with Abitibi. Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (also known as Grassy Narrows First Nation or the Asabiinyashkosiwagong Nitam-Anishinaabeg in the Ojibwe language) is an Ojibwe First Nations band government who inhabit northern Kenora in Ontario, Canada. “It’s like my heart being pulled out of my chest every time I drive into a clearcut.”. Grassy Narrows unveils mercury treatment centre design but wonders whether government is committed to building it. The closest airport is Kenora Airport and provides connections to other large communities including Thunder Bay and Winnipeg. 1870 + Decline of the fur Trade. [12][11] The waste from the industry upstream has not merely affected the Wabigoon River system, the mercury contamination has also infected water sources that the Wabigoon River system feeds into such as Clay Lake and Ed Wilson Landing. He would not say whether logging infringes on treaty rights. The community of about 1,200 members had been without clean drinking water for about seven years, before boil water advisories were lifted recently. Treaty 3, which applies to Grassy Narrows, makes provision for Indians to “pursue their avocations of hunting and fishing” throughout the area they inhabited (not just on reserve), subject to certain limitations. In a 1998 letter, Abitibi wrote to Grassy Narrows: “We realize the way we manage the forest may be considered catastrophic, but we also believe that in the long run it is best for the forest.”. Although the framework agreement is a legally binding contract, Grassy Narrows will have to wait a bit longer for “the machinery of government” to work through the issue of long-term funding, as Miller put it. “When they look at the forest,” he says of Abitibi, “all they see is money.” In 2002, Abitibi revenues topped $5.1 billion. Grassy Narrows is located on Garden Lake, a small lake connected by a meandering creek that leads to the magnificent English River. Elsewhere across Northern Ontario, huge sections of land are being opened up for forestry or mining development, without consideration for Aboriginal rights and jurisdiction. On August 17, 2011, First Nation supporters won a victory in court, when "Ontario's Superior Court ruled that the province cannot authorize timber and logging if the operations infringe on federal treaty promises protecting aboriginal rights to traditional hunting and trapping." 1840 Methodist Mission established in Norway House. That's up from about $166,000 in 2008-2009, according to documents obtained by CBC News. The Grassy Narrows band began seeking compensation in 1970. It was a “roving blockade,” part of a high-stakes game of cat and mouse between the Anishinaabe people of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows First Nation) and Montreal … Local protestors have complained to the company and the Ministry of Natural Resources to demand a selective process. The English River is 615 kilometers long with a drainage basin of 52,300 square kilometers. The reserve is connected to areas beyond by local roads connecting with Highway 671. [16] That being said, it is due to the fact that the soil in the river and the sediment contains high levels of mercury that the fish in the Wabigoon River system may no longer be safely be ingested. Environment Minister Glen Murray announced in Jun 2017 article, CBC news: Ontario will spend $85 million to clean up industrial mercury contamination that is poisoning the people at Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations in NW Ont For decades the Ontario government has granted large logging companies the right to clearcut in the area which Grassy Narrows people traditionally have used to provide for themselves, and to which they have treaty rights. Only time will tell how this David and Goliath tale will unfold and whether treaties can be made to work for both non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal people. Miller pegged the timeline to finish the buildings at between 18 and 36 months. [7] The Dryden Chemical company discharged their effluent into the Wabigoon-English River system. Last night I lacked respect towards them and I apologize.” Says the situation is serious and his office will be speaking O’Regan about what’s being done #cdnpoli #GrassyNarrows” Maan Alhmidi / The Canadian Press. Be careful with Abitibi!”, the final word revised by forest advocates. Grassy Narrows First Nations youth are renowned for their activism, art, and leadership in spite of mercury burden Today Grassy Narrows released a ground-breaking new report by renowned mercury expert Dr. Donna Mergler. The Ontario government says it’s ‘ending duplication’ by removing logging activities from the Environmental Assessment Act. In some regions of Africa, like Malawi, climate change can also lead to landslides, hailstorms, and mudslides. Fish, their main source of food, contained extremely high levels of mercury from toxic dumping by the Dryden Chemicals pulp and paper mill upstream (Kraus 2013). The band said the construction timeline of two to three years is “achievable” as long as “Canada cooperates.” Grassy Narrows residents first began to … The ultimate goal of the blockaders is Asubpeeschoseewagong jurisdiction over their customary lands, giving them the ability to protect their … mill worker recalls dumping barrels of mercury in plastic-lined pit", "Neurological and birth defects haunt Wabaseemoong First Nation, decades after mercury dumping", "Return to grassy narrows: a poisoned community tells its 40-year-old story", "90% of Grassy Narrows residents show mercury poisoning signs: researchers", "Free Grassy » Canada's Grassy Narrows First Nation demands government action after 50 years of mercury poisoning", "Report on mercury poisoning never shared, Grassy Narrows leaders say", "Ontario announces $85M to clean up mercury near Grassy Narrows, Wabaseemoong First Nations", "Mercury poisoning effects continue at Grassy Narrows: Mercury dumping halted in 1970 but symptoms persist", "Fact Sheet: Mercury Poisoning of the Grassy Narrows and White Dog Communities", "Celebrating Canada's Indigenous Peoples Through Song and Dance: Music Alive Program Teacher's Guide", "ONTARIO ENTERS INTO FORESTRY DISCUSSIONS WITH GRASSY NARROWS", "First Nation wins legal battle over clear-cutting", "Ontario gives green light to clear-cutting at Grassy Narrows", "Ontario's biologists called clear-cut logging plan 'big step backwards, "Grassy Narrows First Nation, Grassy Narrows Medical Centre, Medical Centre", "Passing Ojibway Lifeways in a Contemporary Environment", Anishinabeg of Kabapikotawangag Resource Council, Animakee Wa Zhing 37 (Northwest Angle 37), Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Advisory Services, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Asubpeeschoseewagong_First_Nation&oldid=991818936, CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown, All Wikipedia articles written in Canadian English, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 2 December 2020, at 00:03. Previously he worked with Mennonite Central Committee. From 1962 to 1970, a paper mill … But fish ingest neuro-toxins dumped into the river by a pulp mill upstream in the 1960s and 1970s. Last year, 86% of Grassy Narrows residents tested, showed signs of mercury poisoning. [5] From 1876 to 1969 schooling was at McIntosh Indian Residential School, a residential school in McIntosh, Ontario. Their territory was on the northern shore of the Great Lakes from the Michipicoten Bay of Lake Superior to the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. From 1876 to 1969 McIntosh Indian Residential School was the closest school in McIntosh, Ontario. Grassy Narrows-Outfitter- Pourvoyeur - Welcome to Camp Grassy Narrows. [20] However, the mercury was never removed from the water and continues to affect the health of Grassy Narrows residents. On Thursday, Grassy Narrows Chief Simon Fobister sent out a response to Murray’s comments, inviting Premier Kathleen Wynne to put this “historic … Trailers at the main blockade serve as makeshift high school classrooms. 3 (1873) (“Treaty 3”), thus limiting First Nation harvesting rights. The reserve has one school, Sakatcheway Anishinabe School, the serves students from junior kindergarten to grade 12. The current time in Grassy Narrows including seconds is shown along with live date based on local timezone and difference from UTC/GMT/ZULU Offset. [7] Additionally, the chemical waste from the industry in Dryden has impacted the health of the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation peoples, as well as the Wabaseemoong First Nation community (Wabaseemoong Independent Nations) further downstream. [6], The First Nations people experienced mercury poisoning from Dryden Chemical Company, a chloralkali process plant, located in Dryden that supplied both sodium hydroxide and chlorine used in large amounts for bleaching paper during production for the Dryden Pulp and Paper Company. This highway provides connection to Kenora, 68.7 km (42.7 mi) to the south. But the province does not formally recognize the Grassy Narrows Traditional Land Use Area. Grassy Narrows First Nations youth are renowned for their activism, art, and leadership in spite of mercury burden Today Grassy Narrows released a ground-breaking new report by renowned mercury expert Dr. Donna Mergler. She returned to the community in August with her two younger children, Gabrielle, 3, … Their landbase is the 4,145 ha (10,240 acres) English River 21 Indian Reserve. [11] However, time has not lowered the levels of mercury in the Wabigoon River system as the paper and pulp industry in Dryden and the Canadian government had originally told the residents. The First Nation is headed by a Chief and four councillors: The First Nation is a member of the Bimose Tribal Council, a regional non-political Chief's Council, who is a member of the Grand Council of Treaty 3, a political organization. Provincial spokesperson Shawn Stevenson says there is extensive “consultation” with Grassy Narrows on forestry planning, but when pushed on how much say Aboriginal people have, says “[Aboriginal] input on site-specific issues,” is “considered” in forest planning. [16], Grassy Narrows First Nation received a settlement in 1985 from the Government of Canada and the Reed Paper Company that bought-out the Dryden Pulp and Paper Company and its sister-company Dryden Chemical Company. The people of Grassy Narrows have suffered from symptoms of mercury poisoning for more than four decades and scientists had been saying … FISHER RIVER CREE NATION HISTORICAL TIMELINE (Selected) 1837 Norway House established as Hudson Bay Company Administrative Centre. [28] There were no immediate injunctions issued to stop logging activity, however. [25] Additionally, Indigenous people believe that people may learn from fish and learn cultural practices by fishing. Tribal members were allowed to hunt, fish, and trap on unused portions of their former domain; the government undertook to establish schools; and to give ammunition for hunting, twine to make nets, agricultural implements and supplies, and a small amount of money to the tribe. The 1000 people of Grassy Narrows cannot survive off a 14 square mile reserve. 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